How To Turn Prospects into Customers that Love Your Brand
“If you build it, they will come.”
– Ray Kinsella, Field of Dreams
This line exists only in the movies for a reason. As a small business, it’s wishful thinking that all you need to do is set up shop and manage the flow of customers rushing to give you their money. It just doesn’t work that way.
Regardless of what kind of business you run, your customer will probably travel through a “Sales Funnel” or Customer Journey as she comes to know your brand. A customer journey helps your prospect discover, grow her preference for, and ultimately purchase your offering. Here’s how that works.
The Essence of Marketing: The Customer Journey
Many folks think marketing is about selling; it is not. Marketing is about informing and helping customers buy smartly. To understand how marketing transitions your prospects into loyal customers, we need to delve into some marketing theory.
This marketing framework was first codified in 1898 and is still beloved today. For good reason: it demonstrates that as your customers come into contact with your brand and move through the various stages of the journey – from unaware to awareness / consideration / purchase / loyalty – they will deepen their commitment to your offering, ultimately buying from you and becoming loyal customers.
How does this happen? Your brand needs to communicate to them the right marketing message at each stage to help them advance along this path. To get the outcome you want, I recommend mapping your desired end goals with these stages so you know what you want to convey. You want her to see / like / believe / commit / and love your brand. This visual illustrates my point:
Moving Through the Journey
When you’re moving your customer from unaware to aware, your communications goal should be to get SEEN by your target. You want them to know your brand name, and that you offer something that’s of interest to them. That’s it. Easy, right?
Consider that the average person is bombarded with over 10,000 media messages a day. Your message is competing for mindshare against those other 9,999 messages. Resist the urge to cram a whole bunch of stuff at your customer – that’s like yelling at them. Be single-focused in your effort of creating awareness for your brand. Great tactics can include online videos, posts, billboards, flyers or other awareness generating efforts. Remember, your goal is simple: to be seen.
At the next stage, awareness, your goal is to get them to LIKE you. Your messaging should shift to talk about the value your brand brings. Case studies are a great tool. They help transport your reader into “seeing” how you provide value. If this stage is done well, your prospect will be nodding, thinking, “okay, this service is absolutely something I need. I like these guys. They get me. Tell me more.”
The next journey stop is consideration and your goal is to get them to BELIEVE you can deliver what your brand is promising them. Here is where proof points – testimonials, awards, white papers, 3rd party validations – are valuable. They want to believe and are willing to read the fine print to determine if you’re the right contender for their dollars.
Hit the Easy Button
The next stage is the purchase stage. Here, your goal is to make it easy for them to PURCHASE. Reduce the friction by giving them exactly what they need to pull the purchase trigger: a compelling offer, a money-back guarantee, a salesperson at every stage of the journey, and other marketing tactics that drive closure.
Once your customers have purchased, focus on loyalty. Make them LOVE your brand experience so much they become evangelists for your brand to others. This is where the value of your offering can shine, and where you can continue to grow your customer relationship with after-purchase communications, periodic check-ins, and introducing them to new services or products they might not know about.
Be Singular in Your Messaging
Now that we have a marketing process and we have highlighted the customer outcomes we want at each stage, how does this translate into messaging? You’ll want to create messaging that helps drive the outcome you want at each stage of the journey. For this, a good starting point is to ask yourself specific questions like:
- (Unaware) What can we say to get her attention and SEE us?
- (Awareness) What is the one thing we can say that will get her to LIKE us?
- (Consideration) What is the one thing we can say that will get her to BELIEVE us?
- (Purchase) What is the one thing we can say that will get her to PURCHASE from us?
- (Loyalty) What can we say to make her LOVE us?
It’s important to tailor your messaging to the stage your customer is at, and to be singular in your messaging. Stay focused JUST on the desired goal at that stage. You want to give your customers exactly what they need at that stage – and only what they need – to progress to the next level.
Helpful Tips for Your Customer Journey
Don’t try to tell them everything about your brand all at once! And, don’t try to close them with the first communication you send their way. That’s like going out on a first date with someone and proposing: it’s totally inappropriate and tone-deaf. Same thing here. If your prospects are just getting to know your brand and you hit them up with a hard push to buy, it will fall flat. They haven’t decided if they even like you enough to want your services.
And don’t try to say one LOOOOONNNNGGGGG sentence that captures all your messaging goals. I’ve seen this done, and it’s confusing and does nothing for your brand. Your goal is to keep things simple and communicate clearly what your customer wants to hear at the customer journey stage they’re at. (If you need a refresher on why staying simple is crucial in communications, see this piece on simplicity.)
The Customer Journey is a powerful tool in marketing that can deliver crisp, compelling marketing messages. Over time, these can persuade your customer to buy. We’re here to help empower you to do this on your own (you can do it!) but if you need help and want to learn more about how Magnetic Current can help shape your Marketing efforts, reach out to us here.